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Localization of the lens intermediate filament switch by imaging mass spectrometry


Wang ZZhen , Ryan DJDaniel J , Schey KLKevin L . Experimental eye research. 2020 7 16; 198(). 108134


Imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) enables targeted and untargeted visualization of the spatial localization of molecules in tissues with great specificity. The lens is a unique tissue that contains fiber cells corresponding to various stages of differentiation that are packed in a highly spatial order. The application of IMS to lens tissue localizes molecular features that are spatially related to the fiber cell organization. Such spatially resolved molecular information assists our understanding of lens structure and physiology; however, protein IMS studies are typically limited to abundant, soluble, low molecular weight proteins. In this study, a method was developed for imaging low solubility cytoskeletal proteins in the lens; a tissue that is filled with high concentrations of soluble crystallins. Optimized tissue washes combined with on-tissue enzymatic digestion allowed successful imaging of peptides corresponding to known lens cytoskeletal proteins. The resulting peptide signals facilitated segmentation of the bovine lens into molecularly distinct regions. A sharp intermediate filament transition from vimentin to lens-specific beaded filament proteins was detected in the lens cortex. MALDI IMS also revealed the region where posttranslational myristoylation of filensin occurs and the results indicate that truncation and myristoylation of filensin starts soon after filensin expression increased in the inner cortex. From intermediate filament switch to filensin truncation and myristoylation, multiple remarkable changes occur in the narrow region of lens cortex. MALDI images delineated the boundaries of distinct lens regions that will guide further proteomic and interactomic studies.